The University of Delaware: A History – Chapter 12
Chapter 12: Further Growth and a New Stability
John W. Shirley became acting president of the University of Delaware in very difficult times. Experienced and mature (just under fifty-nine) when he took over the presidency on July 1, 1967, Shirley came to his task well-versed in the peculiar problems of a state university, both through his own education, crowned by a Ph.D. in English at the State University of Iowa, and by his subsequent posts as teacher and administrator at Michigan State and North Carolina State.
The times were difficult not only because of the student unrest that carried over into the fall of 1967 from the events of the previous spring, but also because the year 1967-68 marked a crisis in the feelings of the American people about the Vietnam War. This was the year in which Lyndon Johnson decided not to involve the armed forces further in Vietnam and in which he also decided not to seek reelection. And at this critical time the university was forced to cope with continued rapid growth, its undergraduate enrollment of 6,500 in September 1967 being almost ten percent larger than at the opening of the previous school year. A faculty turnover rate of ten percent, much as it had been in the recent past, and an addition of over 100 new professional members of the faculty and staff for the second year in a row meant that the faculty was in flux, a sizable minority newly adjusting to Delaware, many fresh from graduate study at institutions, like California and Columbia, disrupted by student insurrection.
Soon after the fall term began a portion of the student leadership carried its antiwar, antimilitarist feelings into an assault on the military training requirement. They distributed leaflets on campus declaring that the university was not obliged to make ROTC compulsory and calling for a meeting on this issue. Their spirit was indicated by another question on the leaflets: Do you want the University of Delaware to continue to run your life?
As a land-grant college the university was required to offer training in military science, but it was not required to make the study compulsory. It had done so for two reasons: first, if enrollments were not sufficiently large, the government would not provide instructors, and then the cost of instruction would fall to the institution, as it had before 1890; second, the university had hitherto accepted the opinion that Harter and other presidents had frequently voiced, that military training was of positive value to the students in itself. The need for military training had, of course, been generally evident at the time of the two world wars.
In 1967 the university was sufficiently large that the concern over having an adequate number of students electing noncompulsory military training was no longer very great; as a matter of fact, the number desiring advanced training, to qualify for an army commission, had recently doubled. Consequently, there was little opposition when the faculty responded to the student demand by removing the requirement in January 1968.
But the anti-ROTC students had not been content to wait for faculty action. On October 12, 1967, an ROTC drill was disrupted by a planned demonstration. After a Volkswagen bus marked "flower power" gave the signal by pulling up beside the drill field, approximately thirty cadets walked off the field and at least as many demonstrators marched on, chanting, "The army has made us men."
Few of the demonstrators were recognized by anyone in authority, but six of them were, and they were suspended. The Student Government Association promptly took action in their defense. Mass meetings were held, Acting President Shirley’s reception for the faculty was picketed, as was the home of Vice-President Hocutt, and after one student rally a mass confession to participation in the ROTC disruption of October 12 was tacked to a door of Hullihen Hall.
Only thirty names were signed to the confession, a credible number of demonstrators; however, it was generally understood to be no true confession, but only an effort to upset the administration, which first suspended most of the "confessors" on disciplinary probation and then relented, withdrawing the suspensions. One of the "confessors" was Ramon Ceci, the SGA president, who lost his office as a consequence of this action, for he resigned, along with four other student officers, rather than appeal the disciplinary probation.1
The disappearance of SDS influence in the leadership of the student government by no means meant an end to SDS influence on campus. The unofficial organ of this group was a publication called Heterodoxical Voice, printed commercially but edited from an office in the headquarters of the Presbyterian campus ministry on Orchard Road. The spirit of rebellion, Delaware-style (which means comparatively low-keyed), was abroad. Graffiti, some radical and some obscene, appeared on the temporary framework erected to shield campus building operations, such as the large addition to Hullihen Hall that was under way. A part-time student burned his draft card, drugs appeared on campus, as elsewhere in teenage America, and a drug raid was conducted on Brown Hall. Obscene leaflets were distributed condemning authorities. Demonstrators briefly occupied Hullihen Hall corridors. In May an all-night sit-in was held at the Student Center in sympathy with students at Delaware State College, which had been closed by Governor Terry.2
Such events were the talk of the campus, of course, but they involved only a minority of the students. For the majority, life went on as usual, though the dress code, revised by the student government, was in practice abandoned since it was not compulsory; other restrictions were also eased. As Shirley explained to the trustees, students wanted (1) elimination of all dormitory regulations that restricted women more than men; (2) permission to entertain visitors of either sex in their rooms at all hours; and (3) liberalization of all regulations pertaining to extracurricular affairs, including the invitation of speakers to the campus. If the university was to maintain no control over living conditions, he wondered whether it had any duty to provide residential facilities.3 (All three of the student demands were granted in a short time, though not in the 1967-68 school year.)
Growth was so rapid that outside experts, the firm of Sasaki, Dawson, and DeMay, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was called in to help the university’s staff develop a long-range master plan for the campus. Construction was begun on a new dormitory-dining hall complex (the future Pencader Hall) on land given by William Winder Laird beside New London Road, and other buildings were planned for the block facing the campus across College Avenue between Delaware Avenue and Amstel. As the Willard Hall Education Building was being completed, plans were laid for McDowell Hall to house the College of Nursing, also north of Main Street and west of North College Avenue.
One novelty was the establishment of a student radio station. William Skold, ’67, developed a plan for a station which he presented to the SGA in 1966. It took time for approval, including that of the trustees, to be secured, and still more time for funds to be raised. Acting President Shirley allocated $16,000 for the station in 1968 and the SGA provided another $7,000, which permitted the purchase of twenty-seven transmitters that were placed around the campus to permit the reception of closed-circuit broadcasting. The first broadcast by WHEN, as the station was called, was on October 21, 1968, and the first studio was in East Hall, the former Newark Armory, where the Instructional Resources Center had its headquarters.4
Another innovation was the creation of ten H. Rodney Sharp merit scholarships, approved by the trustees on June 8, 1968. Of varying amounts, they were to be awarded each year to ten entering freshmen on the basis of merit and regardless of sex, residence, or field of study. They could be renewed for a total of four years and were supported by an allocation of funds from the Sharp endowment in an effort to attract especially promising undergraduates.
Two days after the trustees approved this allocation from the funds he had made available, Rodney Sharp died on shipboard returning from a trip to Europe. When he came to campus in 1896 as a sixteen-year-old freshman admitted on probation from Lewes, he was surely not the most promising undergraduate. When he died in 1968 it was acknowledged that no one in the history of Delaware and very few persons in the history of the United States had ever done so much for a university.
As had been done after Carlson’s resignation seventeen years earlier, the trustees in 1967 set up a search committee of their own members and an advisory committee from the faculty to seek a replacement for John Perkins. Walter J. Beadle headed the first committee, and Edward H. Rosenberry (English) was chairman of the second. After screening more than 200 names of potential candidates and giving careful consideration to the credentials of several score, their choice was announced in May 1968 to be Edward Arthur Trabant, the forty-eight-year-old vice-president for academic affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
E.A. Trabant, as he normally signed his name, had a somewhat broader university background than his immediate predecessors in the presidency, Carlson and Perkins, who were both almost entirely limited in their previous experience to large midwestern state universities–Carlson to Michigan and Minnesota, and Perkins to Michigan, except for a very short time at Rochester. Trabant had done his undergraduate work at Occidental College, a small liberal arts school in a suburb of Los Angeles, and then had taken a Ph.D. in applied mathematics at one of the two outstanding schools of its kind in the nation, the California Institute of Technology. His first professional appointment had been at Purdue University, and from Purdue, where he had become assistant dean of the graduate school in 1956, he moved in 1960, to Buffalo as dean of the engineering school, and then, in 1966, to Georgia Tech.
Trabant took over the presidency at Delaware on July 1, 1968, exactly one year after John Perkins left the office. At his first public appearance on campus, the new president called on the students, the faculty, and the administration to join together in creating a new "Community Design" for the university, with a structure recognizing the importance of the individual and providing the means for individual participation in and determination of the details of the design.
The working out of details for each unit of the university–division, department, or college–extended over several years; The Decade Ahead: The Report of the Community Design Planning Commission was published by the university in two volumes in 1971. One by-product of the labor this report occasioned that was hardly accidental was the opportunity given to every group within the university to participate. This was probably of very great significance in view of the internal situation–a student body that included many students disaffected and in some degree rebellious toward the state of affairs, particularly in view of the chance that the men might be called out to fight far away in a very unpopular war; and a faculty that was one-fourth completely new in the fall of 1968 and that was to some degree alienated, either by the same causes affecting the students or by the authoritarian administration that had recently ended. To get a measure of cooperative endeavor on a disturbed campus was a first priority at Delaware, and the new president saw this problem and attacked it immediately.
He referred to this need in his inaugural address, which was not given until May 17, 1969. In this speech, Trabant quoted from a letter warning him that his task required him to be more of a manager than an educator; that it involved working with many groups–trustees, governor and legislators, faculty, and students; that he should allow increased faculty and student representation in running the university, while preserving its autonomy against outside pressures and still displaying independence and integrity in upholding his own beliefs. "Colleges around the country are time bombs, the fuses…lit," the writer concluded. "At Delaware we don’t need a demolition expert to dismantle the bombs. What we need is someone who, because of his fairness and his willingness to make the University a better place by allowing all parties to contribute, will keep the bomb from being made in the first place."
"I accept these tenets and responsibilities," declared the new president.5 Many subsequent developments in his administration showed that the pledge was taken seriously.
The reference to bombs was not mere rhetoric. In September 1968 a Molotov cocktail had exploded in a uniform storage room of the ROTC building, the old Mechanical Hall. It did limited damage, but soon campus life was disturbed at least as much as in the previous year by repercussions of the October 1967 interruption of the ROTC drill. Three faculty members had apparently participated in that disruption. One had left in the summer of 1968 but the two who remained, Albert E. Myers (psychology) and Robert J. Bresler (political science), received notice in the following October that their contracts would not be renewed.
Decisions about the renewal of contracts of nontenured faculty normally originate with departmental action, and such was apparently the procedure in these cases, but students were suspicious. It was said that the administration flew one political scientist home from research leave in Europe to assure a departmental vote against Bresler’s retention. It was charged by some students that members of this department were told their desire for support in establishing a doctoral program would be viewed favorably only if Bresler were let go. It is impossible to analyze motives of the professors making this decision, as with any decision affecting tenure in a university. A faculty review committee that considered the Bresler-Myers case refused to recommend any reversal of the decision not to renew their contracts, and Bresler and Myers were forced to leave at the end of the year despite student petitions, editorials in the Review, "teach-ins," rallies, and even brief student strikes. Bresler himself broke up a sleep-in at the Student Center in December 1968, arriving there shortly after midnight when, it was said, 300 students were gathered within the building and possibly 200 more were outside. He persuaded them to leave but many marched to the president’s house and demonstrated outside it until 2:30 A.M.6
While committees, including student members, were getting to work on various aspects of the community design he had called for, President Trabant took the initiative in approaching another campus problem. In the fall of 1968, soon after taking office, he called Frank Scarpitti, of the sociology department, to his office and asked him to be chairman of a committee to consider and make recommendations for the improvement of the condition of minorities (primarily blacks) at the university. Scarpitti accepted, the committee was set up with students, including whites, blacks, and an Asian among the members, and after many meetings through the winter months, a report was presented to Trabant in March 1969, including rather lengthy recommendations.
The report, known thereafter as the Scarpitti Report, suggested that the needs of minorities on the campus had received insufficient attention and proposed the recruitment of additional minority faculty and students, the establishment of a cultural center for minorities, and the introduction of additional courses on minority problems and achievements. In time, all of the major recommendations were adopted, but not until after charges of neglect and racism were made.7
A hullabaloo arose early in 1970 after the faculty had accepted a recommendation from the joint faculty-trustee committee on honorary degrees to award a degree to Charles L. Terry, Jr., who had been governor from 1965 to 1969. As a former chief justice of the state supreme court as well as governor, Terry had a distinguished career, and the university had frequently awarded honorary degrees to Delawareans who held these positions. But Terry had become anathema with much of the black community for his stern repression of the rioting that had followed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. He had ordered the National Guard mobilized to patrol the black neighborhoods of Wilmington in the spring of 1968 and had kept them there until the end of his term in January 1969, despite requests of the mayor that they be withdrawn and despite one fatal shooting of a black by a guardsman. He had also forced Delaware State College to close before its term ended because of riots there in May 1968.
These actions cost Terry black support in the fall of 1968, but they may also have won him votes. He did lose a bid for reelection that fall, though it is possible that had he not been incapacitated by illness during the campaign he might have been reelected. At any rate, discovery that the faculty had voted him an honorary degree precipitated an uproar in which some faculty members–possibly some who had not attended the meeting at which the degree was approved–joined the black students and others in protesting the award. Fortunately for the peace of the campus, Terry, made aware of the controversy, declined the degree and avoided the possibility of an unpleasant demonstration.8
Such a demonstration did occur on May 7, 1970, when a group of blacks from an organization called the Black Student Union interrupted the ceremonies on Honors Day, a day when various student awards are announced, including membership in honorary societies. A temporary stage had been set up before the north entrance to Memorial Hall and an audience of faculty, students, parents, and friends was seated on the mall when a group of black students invaded the platform and seized the microphone to demonstrate their insistence that the university augment a recommendation made in the Scarpitti Report calling for the hiring of a professor of Afro-American studies.
Actually it was not an easy matter to acquire a trained scholar in this hitherto neglected field. Two efforts that the university made to fill this position turned out unhappily. The first appointee was an African scholar; the black students soon complained that his interests were far from theirs, that he had little understanding of the experience of blacks in America. Student representatives served on the committee that chose the second director, a woman, but soon students were complaining that they could seldom see her. It was learned that she also held another job at some distance away, and she left after one term, to general satisfaction. The third head of the program, James E. Newton, turned out to be a happy choice. Newton, an accomplished artist, had been serving as an assistant professor in education; after he assumed direction of the program in black American studies, it acquired stability and respectability.9
Another recommendation of the Scarpitti Report, establishment of a minorities center, was finally carried out in 1976, when a residence on South College Avenue was converted to use for this purpose. A resident adviser was appointed to counsel black students, who, according to a paper written by one of them, needed longer in adjusting themselves to university life than the average student. Besides the Black Student Union, formed in 1968, black students also organized other societies, including fraternities, sororities, and special interest groups, like one formed of black engineering students.10
When the first black students were admitted to the university in 1948, as previously mentioned, no records were kept that identified the race of any student, and the same practice was followed after the 1950 decision in the Parker case that opened the university completely to all Delaware residents. Briefly, black students from out-of-state, to whom the 1950 decision did not apply, were denied admission, but this position was soon quietly abandoned. Passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 pressed the states, through its Title VI, to demonstrate the desegregation of their educational systems, including higher education.
The Scarpitti Report had called on the university to see that there was black representation on the board of trustees, in the administration, and on the faculty. Governor Russell Peterson, Terry’s successor, appointed the first black, Mrs. Arva Jackson, to the board in 1969, and a second black, Luna I. Mishoe (the president of Delaware State), was added by election of the board later in the same year. A number of blacks were appointed to professional staff positions, but no high administrative post went to a black until the appointment of L. Eudora Pettigrew as associate provost for instruction in 1981. The addition of black faculty was difficult because relatively few blacks were qualified for such positions, and for those who were, there was considerable competition among universities. Probably the first black appointed to a full professorship at Delaware was Leroy B. Allen, a former college president, who became a professor in the College of Education in 1968.
Although the SDS ceased to be recognized as a legitimate student organization after September 1969 and gradually lost its importance as a spearhead of dissent on campus, student demands and student unrest still absorbed much attention on the campus through the 1969-70 school year.
Student organizations united in pressing for adoption of a statement regarding student rights that had been drawn up almost two years earlier. The students specifically asked for freedom from any residence restrictions as well as from restrictions on the use and possession of alcohol by those over twenty-one. They wanted the right to establish rules for their own government in living units on campus and the power to allocate the use of money collected by the university as an activities fee. They also wanted a voice in the making of university policies, by representation on trustee committees and by participation in departmental decisions.
A modified version of their request was granted by the faculty in January 1970. Of course, the faculty could not make rules regarding the board of trustees, but the latter body, probably influenced by the appearance, though peaceful, of about 1,000 students at its December meeting, granted students the right to representation at its sessions and as observers on some of its committees. In 1978 the board began the practice of electing a very recent graduate to fill membership on the board for a term of one year. Students were added to many departmental and faculty committees, though they were not given the right of voting on such matters as promotion and tenure.
A new student government organization was given a large measure of financial independence, and residence rules were greatly liberalized. Coed dorms became the norm rather than the exception. Restrictions on the use of alcohol were largely removed for those of legal age. The effect of these changes in student regulations was to abolish most of the evidences of paternalism on the part of the university.
As hostilities continued in Vietnam, antiwar sentiments on campus remained strong and were voiced in monthly student rallies, or "moratoria," as the SGA called these meetings, which were intended to supplant all other student activities. When the first moratorium was held in October 1969 it featured speeches by members of the faculty and was followed by a large candlelight procession, in which the Review estimated that 1,700 students participated.
Interest in the monthly moratoria faded in the winter of 1969-70, but in May the American invasion of Cambodia aroused the campus to feverish excitement again. A student "strike for peace" was declared on many campuses nationwide in an effort to bring pressure on the Nixon administration to withdraw from the war. The SGA voted for a strike and a mob of students gathered outside a faculty senate meeting in hope of winning support.
Faculty members varied in opinion from a desire to continue classes as usual to an insistence on joining with students in closing the university. News of the death of four students, shot by the Ohio National Guard during a demonstration at Kent State University on May 4, further inflamed the situation. The faculty decided, however, on a compromise measure; it recommended (but did not demand) a two-day moratorium on class instruction, hoping that this would be long enough to let passions cool and classes proceed.
Trabant wired President Nixon, urging a peaceful end to hostilities: "I urge you to consider all possible means to bring a peaceful end as soon as possible to U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia. Immediate action on your part will do much to stem the alienation of American youth and its resulting possible dangers to our society."
Around-the-clock activities of student remonstrants took place at the Student Center, with occasional demonstrations on other parts of the campus, as when a crowd of students marched on the ROTC headquarters demanding that the military leave the campus, or when the aforementioned outbreak by the Black Student Union interrupted the Honors Day ceremony.11
Trabant refused to be provoked into any irrational response by these events. When students held a candlelight procession on Sunday night, May 10, in honor of the slain Kent State students, the president and Mrs. Trabant, along with Stuart Sharkey, then director of residence, joined the procession, which moved from the Student Center to Old College and then, after three minutes of silent reflection, to Memorial Hall.
When the two-day moratorium permitted by faculty action had expired, many students were quite unwilling to return to classes. To avoid a confrontation with students already partly alienated by events and yet allow classes to resume for the short time remaining in the term, the faculty agreed that those students wishing to withdraw from classes could do so and postpone their final examinations until late in the summer if their professors agreed. The majority of students returned to classes, but some began a house-to-house canvass to arouse antiwar sympathy; they also visited shopping centers, accompanied by a few sympathetic professors, on what they deemed an educational mission.
Not everyone was pleased by the deep concern these students showed for American policy. One legislator suggested punitive action against the university for condoning the student moratorium; the students thought of what they were doing as a strike against education as usual, but the word moratorium was preferred by the faculty as a euphemism that would be less likely to inflame feelings. Fortunately for the university, Governor Russell Peterson stifled an imminent move to cut off funds from the university unless the strike, or moratorium, was suspended.12
When classes resumed in the fall of 1970 the campus was relatively quiet. Now an important issue was ecology, the preservation of the environment. The College of Agricultural Sciences showed particular interest and began offering courses in this subject. Students complained of prices at the University Bookstore, which was torn between a desire to accommodate students and hesitation to provoke complaints of unfair competition from private booksellers. The drug culture had influenced college-age youth (as it had teenagers in high schools, too) to such a degree that the Health Center arranged to provide counsel on a twenty-four-hour basis.
The persisting war in Vietnam was not forgotten, and there were occasional antiwar rallies and memorial observations. A "Free University" was started in April 1971 with eleven noncredit courses taught by faculty and students on the model of an existing extracurricular program offered at the University of Pennsylvania and elsewhere. (Eventually this program became known as "Di-Versity.") The women’s liberation movement sparked a protest against a local beauty pageant, and in the fall of 1970, students protested against what they claimed was the irrelevance of choosing a homecoming queen by nominating and electing a chicken, to the discomfiture of alumni accustomed to enjoying the crowning of the queen at halftime during a football game.
Gradually the protest movement abated on the Delaware campus as it did across the nation. The high intensity of feeling that had marked it was not sustained, especially after the military draft became less threatening and the national administration made clear its desire to withdraw from Vietnam. Along with evidence of indulgence in alcohol, drugs, and a freer sex life than ever before, students found new sources of relief from the stress of studies; "streaking," for example, became in the early seventies the successor of the panty raids of the early sixties.
Fraternities, which had dominated social life on campus in the 1920s and 1930s, increased in numbers in the sixties and seventies but became proportionately less important, even though a majority of students now resided in Newark, whereas a majority had commuted before the Second World War. Sororities, once they were permitted on campus, also acquired houses, but student organizations were generally based in the Student Center, though a special center for commuters was set up in the old Presbyterian Church on Main Street, which became known as Daugherty Hall.
When first constructed, the Student Center was, as intended, a community center for the university as a whole, and it retained some of that function. But increasingly, administration and faculty needs began to crowd its facilities, and students protested the use of the building for many conferences and meetings that held no direct interest for them. This problem was relieved with the construction in 1972 of the John M. Clayton conference center on the new north campus.
Clayton Hall, as it was generally called, furnished a new home for the Division of University Extension (renamed Continuing Education in 1970). This division, directed by John A. Murray after 1962, offered a program through the state in which it was possible, after 1970, to take a baccalaureate degree without ever attending regular classes on campus. The most popular site for continuing education classes, aside from the campus itself, was the property acquired on the edge of Wilmington in 1969-70, which consisted of two buildings, Goodstay and Wilcastle. The former was the gift of Ellen du Pont Wheelwright and the latter was the former clubhouse of the Wilmington Country Club, purchased by the university for classroom use.
Clayton Hall soon proved its worth as a conference center, not just for the university, but for the state. (Goodstay, a smaller but historic building, was also used for conferences and housed a notable collection of Lincolniana assembled by the Lincoln Club of Wilmington.) The north campus came alive in the early seventies after the construction of Clayton Hall and two dormitory complexes, the Pencader dormitories and the twin high-rise Christiana Towers, completed in 1972. With dormitories, classrooms, and other student facilities now spread from the north campus, beyond New London Road, to the athletic complex surrounding the Delaware Field House, well below the Conrail tracks, it was necessary to establish a free bus service not only to help resident students reach their classes but also so that parking lots on the fringe of the campus could be utilized by commuters.
No development on campus in the late 1960s and 1970s was so striking as the growth in the size of the university. An institution that never enrolled as many as 1,000 students before the Second World War had grown to almost 6,000 undergraduates in 1966-67, the last year of John Perkins’s administration. This number rose to 6,500 in the fall of 1968, double what it had been just four years earlier, and then for four years the enrollment grew by more than ten percent each year over the previous year’s total. So large was the increase in 1970 that only seventeen percent of new students were admitted from out of state, instead of the twenty-five percent that had become customary. In 1971 it became necessary to advise some Delaware students to enter through the parallel program, and in 1973 some students seeking readmission were deferred until spring.
Through these years the percentage of women in the undergraduate student body was growing: in 1969 there were more women than men in the freshman class for the first time since the war and in 1975 the total number of women undergraduates on campus surpassed the number of men.
After the undergraduate enrollment reached 12,577 in 1974 there were too few rooms on campus to satisfy demand, and though the university as a temporary expedient rented some space in local apartment houses and motels from time to time, it announced that it did not intend to build any more dormitories. John Perkins had been glad to see enrollments rise because he felt greater numbers would allow the university to function more efficiently, but in the 1970s the trustees came to feel that there were limits to the expansion desirable on the Newark campus. A commissioned study of the situation by the John Carl Warnecke Associates was reviewed in 1971 by a special advisory committee on future physical growth, chaired by Samuel Lenher, a retired Du Pont Company vice-president. They agreed that growth on the Newark campus should not be allowed to exceed 15,000 undergraduates, or a total of 18,300 students; when that number was reached consideration should be given to developing a second campus.13
By the mid-1970s, however, the rate of growth at Delaware, as in most universities, slackened. While enrollments did not fall, as in some other schools, the chart of this growth showed a plateau after the number passed 13,000 in 1976. Major reasons that the growth suddenly slowed were the precipitous fall in the birth rate, the availability of alternate institutions, such as Delaware Tech and some small private colleges (Wesley, Wilmington, Goldey-Beacom, and the Delaware campus of Widener University), and the decline in the rate of population growth in the State of Delaware. In the 1950s the State of Delaware had grown by 40.3 percent, by far the highest rate since statistics were kept; in the 1960s its rate of growth was 22.8 percent, the second highest figure and well beyond the national growth rate of 13.3 percent. In the 1970s, however, the growth rate plummeted to 8.4 percent, the smallest growth since the 1920s, and, with that exception, the smallest growth rate for over a hundred years. As a result of all of these developments, talk of the need of a second campus proved entirely premature.
Among the means adopted to allay student dissatisfaction was the establishment by Trabant in his first year of a consultative undergraduate student cabinet and a similar graduate student cabinet–obviously efforts to widen participation in policy formulation. In the next year the Office of Student Affairs was reorganized under the supervision of John E. Worthen, who had come to Delaware in 1963 as director of the counseling and testing office, had become assistant provost, and then, in 1969, vice-president for student affairs. John E. Hocutt, who previously had this responsibility, was shifted to vice-president for administrative services.
The new dean of students was Raymond Eddy, whose office helped effect a reorganization of the student government, mentioned earlier, intended to fit the expanded university. College councils were set up in 1972 and the central unifying body came to be called the University of Delaware Coordinating Council (UDCC)–changed to the Delaware Undergraduate Student Congress (DUSC) in 1979. By 1972 there were fifty-five residence halls on campus and a number of special interest houses, like the Maison Francaise and the Deutsches Haus.
Student pressure helped bring about a liberalization of the curriculum with the support of the faculty undergraduate studies committee, which declared "that the student should be able to design a rich academic program as free from specific requirements as possible."14 The faculty voted in October 1971 to remove the physical education requirement and the General Assembly was soon persuaded to change the requirement of a course in the history and government of Delaware. In place of the latter one-credit-hour course, which had become far more of a problem to give to several thousand students a year than when it had been instituted for less than a hundred, the history department introduced a more demanding three-credit-hour course. State law still required a course in this subject to be taken by all aspiring elementary teachers and by those students preparing to teach the social studies in secondary schools; a much larger part of the very sizable enrollment in this course, however, came from those who chose it voluntarily.
Nor was physical education neglected on campus when the required course was abolished. An ice rink and an outdoor pool were built near the Delaware Field House in 1970. A very active intramural athletic program was set up, centering around the old Women’s Gym (now renamed the Hartshorn Gymnasium) and especially the Carpenter Sports Building. Swimming pools, weight rooms, and basketball courts, as well as handball and squash courts, were available indoors, and the Carpenter Sports Building had laboratories for research in the physiology of exercise and the biomechanical analysis of sports. Intramural councils for men and women helped supervise competition in various sports; it was said that over half of the male undergraduates competed in some phase of the intramural program. The emphasis placed on this phase of university life was revealed when the physical education division became the College of Physical Education, Athletics and Recreation, the eighth undergraduate college, in 1980.
Besides the effect of student pressure on changes in the requirements for physical education and Delaware history, there was a weakening of some of the general education requirements, especially of those for the B.A. degree in arts and science. One change, the reduction of the required freshman composition course from two terms to one, was encouraged by the difficulty of finding qualified teachers willing to take on a large batch of freshman themes rather than because of student desires. Other curricular changes weakening general education requirements were adopted by the faculty with astonishingly little consideration or loss of time considering the long deliberations that had attended formulation of the Day Committee’s proposals for curriculum revision in the 1940s. Also a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies was instituted that allowed particular freedom in course selection in the arts and science college; similar freedom was allowed to superior students, who were named Dean’s Scholars.
A calendar revision in 1970 provided for the fall term to conclude before Christmas and allowed time between terms for a voluntary two-week program called Winterim. In the beginning, Winterim was devoted to innovative courses or projects for which credit was given but no grades, but after a few years it developed into a five-week session that was the winter equivalent of summer school, and more popular than the latter. In 1976, under the direction of Donald Harward (philosophy), a two-year honors program was instituted in Dover, using the facilities of Wesley College, but with university faculty, along with a few teachers hired just for this program. The students admitted to it had superior records and tested very well on national examinations but had completed only the junior year in high school.
Out of concern for a charter requirement that the university not be conducted for partisan or sectarian advantage, the administration in 1966 had forbidden opposing candidates for Congress from speaking on campus; student protests, however, caused the ban to be lifted very quickly. Similarly, the university sought to forbid religious meetings on campus, but in 1973 its attempt to prevent Mass from being celebrated in one of the dorms at the request of Catholic students led to a lawsuit that the university lost.
Most religious meetings, however, were held off-campus. The Catholics established the St. Thomas More Oratory (originally called the Newman Center) on Lovett Avenue. Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Methodists, with some help from other Protestant groups, operated the United Campus Ministry on Orchard Road. Lutherans had their own campus mission, as did Jews. At least two fundamentalist groups were organized among the students.
The new story in intercollegiate athletics in the Trabant era was the opening of these activities to women. In 1968 a group of faculty and students won approval of the Athletic Governing Board to introduce in the following year an experimental program in intercollegiate competition for women in three sports–basketball, field hockey, and swimming. The program was regarded as a success and was gradually expanded to include volleyball, tennis, softball, and lacrosse by the end of the decade.
As a result of a 1972 federal statute forbidding discrimination against women in any federally funded institution, two women members were added to the Athletic Governing Board and in 1975 the facilities of the Delaware Field House were opened to members of women’s varsity teams. In the following year, 1976, financial aid was approved for women athletes as an aid to recruiting. Several women’s teams have compiled outstanding records, including the swimming team, the 1978 field hockey team, which was runner-up to the champion in a national competition, and especially the lacrosse team. The women’s lacrosse team surpassed the achievement of any other Delaware team in intercollegiate competition by winning the national championship in the highest division of competition in 1983–after previously winning two national titles in Division II.15
Men’s lacrosse teams have also been outstanding in recent years, winning the East Coast Conference championship ten times in thirteen seasons. Coached since 1965 by Robert Hannah, the baseball team won more victories in that period (over 400) than any other Delaware team. With only one losing season, it regularly rated among the top college teams in the Northeast. Dallas Green, a former Delaware pitcher, though from before Hannah’s time, won fame as manager of the world champion Philadelphia Phillies of 1980.
The football team, coached by Harold (Tubby) Raymond from 1966, kept up or even improved on the excellent records set by teams under the two previous coaches, Bill Murray and Dave Nelson. Three times–in 1971, 1972, and 1979–it was judged the best team in the nation in its division, and it won the Lambert Cup, the emblem of East Coast supremacy, many more times than any other team in its class. Delaware’s football record was so good that the team had scheduling problems; many schools that should have been natural rivals for Delaware were hesitant to take on the Fighting Blue Hens. (The name was an adaptation of "blue hen’s chickens," a title proudly remembered by Delawareans after it was applied to the gallant Delaware Revolutionary soldiers, who were said to have fought like gamecocks in the southern campaign.) Delaware, on the other hand, did not want to get involved in the expensive competition of Division I football teams, such as Penn State, Pittsburgh, and Maryland, which would have required a large stadium and a larger attendance than a university serving a state of less than 600,000 people would be expected to attract.
Like the students, the faculty reorganized itself in the early 1970s. Recognizing that it was now too large–there were about 550 faculty members in 1970–to carry on its business efficiently en masse, the faculty approved the establishment of a representative body, the University Senate, which met for the first time on March 16, 1970. Ex officio membership was provided for the university president and the other chief officers of the administration, and two seats each were reserved for representatives of the undergraduate and graduate student bodies serving one-year terms. The remaining senators were elected for two-year terms from the various departments and colleges. The senators choose their own officers annually; the first president was Jon H. Olson (chemical engineering).
Although the senate has full power to act, it could be overruled by a full faculty meeting, but in practice this is very unlikely. The faculty does meet twice each year and hears reports from the university president and other officers and from its senate president, but it is kept informed of senate affairs by regular circulation of agenda and minutes, including accounts of the senate committees. The rather sparse attendance at faculty meetings suggests widespread satisfaction with the senate’s conduct of affairs. Although originally there was a certain amount of friction between the senate and the university administration, and perhaps even a degree of hostility at least on the part of the senate, which once voted a lack of confidence in the president, the scope of senate authority was soon established and the relationship between faculty and administration became generally harmonious. Through the senate the faculty performs the tasks relating to university affairs assigned to it by the board of trustees, such as determination of curricular requirements.
At the same time that the senate was set up, as an organ to aid efficient performance of these tasks, many members of the faculty felt that further organization was needed to enhance their bargaining position in relation to salaries, working conditions, and the like. A revision of state laws had recently permitted teachers to join together for collective bargaining, and most of the public school teachers had, as a consequence, empowered either the Delaware State Education Association, which was the local affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), or the American Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO labor union, to represent them–the majority belonging to the former group.
Both of these organizations sought to organize the faculty at the university, and so did a third organization, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), already represented on campus for about fifty years but without bargaining powers. On its part, the university administration, acting through a vice-president for employee relations, William Jones, sought to persuade faculty that they would be better off and more professional in handling their contractual relations individually rather than by setting up an adversarial relationship and bargaining collectively like industrial employees. The NEA dropped out of the contest early; its history and reputation were as a school teachers’ organization, whereas the AAUP was the traditional organization of college professors. The AFT argued that it had experience in collective bargaining and could bring valuable support to the professors in time of need (financial, political, or other) through its connection with organized labor.
Both the administration arguments, probably phrased by Jones, and the AFT arguments failed to convince a majority of the faculty, who voted in May 1972 to be represented by their traditional organization, the AAUP. Whatever it lacked in experience in collective bargaining, it seemed to make up for by its understanding of the professional problems and ambitions of professors.
Perhaps it was less surprising that the professors preferred the AAUP to the AFT than that they voted for any collective bargaining at all. Organization was, of course, popular at this time. The several hundreds of hourly workers at the university in food services, housing, and the like had organized in 1966 as a local of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. An attempt to organize the large salaried and professional staff failed when a vote was taken.16
Part of the reason for the decision of the faculty was probably based on faculty experience during the authoritarian administration of John Perkins. Perkins viewed administration of universities through faculty committees with skepticism; administrators should administer, he thought, and scholars should be freed of distraction from their study and teaching. Some faculty resented their exclusion from responsibilities in university governance; establishment of a faculty senate might have helped restore their sense of participation, but the senate was still new when the vote on collective bargaining was taken.
Much of the faculty was new, too; the addition of approximately 100 new faculty members noted in 1966 and 1967 became the norm through the next five years. The youth and low rank of many of these new faculty members may have led them to be suspicious of the administration and also of the top-ranking professors. Furthermore, these young professors had generally come through college and graduate school in a time of student unrest, when they may have been influenced at an impressionable age to view established authority with hostility. Possibly by 1972 some young faculty members saw that the seller’s market for scholars was about to end; as jobs became less plentiful, professors could no longer win concessions by threatening to move elsewhere and therefore collective bargaining might seem in order.17
Relations between the AAUP and the university administration were abrasive at first but improved as time went by, particularly after a former member of the faculty, C. Harold Brown, succeeded Jones as vice-president for personnel and employee relations and after the AAUP began to call in professional assistance in bargaining sessions.
Faculty litigiousness, born out of the dissenting spirit of the times, cost the university dearly on several occasions. Dismissal of a professor, usually through failure to renew the contract of nontenured faculty, was not always accepted without a struggle by the person involved. Several persons took their grievances to court; others threatened to but waged their struggle wholly within the grievance and appeal systems existing in the university. In any case, these quarrels were costly in time if not directly in money. The university lost none of the cases that went to court except one; a professor from the theatre department won a considerable cash settlement by challenging the administration for dismissing him after he had declared himself a homosexual.
As in the case of the students, a demand arose from elements in the faculty for more direct access than existed to the board of trustees. Governor Sherman W. Tribbitt responded to this feeling in 1976 by appointing Shien-Biau Woo (physics), who had been president of the local AAUP chapter, to the board. Apparently this was the beginning of a custom of having a faculty member on the board, for at the conclusion of Woo’s term Governor Pierre S. du Pont IV appointed Robert L. Pigford (chemical engineering) as Woo’s successor.
The faculty vote for collective bargaining in May 1972 apparently helped occasion a change in the presidency of the board of trustees. Justice Tunnell, who had been president or chairman of the board (this title was changed in 1970) since 1962, stepped down, relinquishing the place to an older man, Samuel Lenher, a member of the board since 1963 and also president of the University of Delaware Research Foundation from 1955 to 1966.
According to a newspaper report of an interview with Lenher when he resigned the chairmanship ten years later, he had accepted the post reluctantly because as a former manager of the Du Pont Company’s large Chambers Works and through other responsibilities with Du Pont he was the one trustee who had extensive experience with unions. "I felt," he was quoted as telling the reporter, "if I accepted the nomination it would be a signal to the faculty and the union that they would be confronted with real opposition to the extension of their power into university governance."18
Lenher had the advantage of a considerable background in higher education. He was the son of a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin, where he took his undergraduate degree in 1924. He received his doctorate two years later at London and had postdoctoral fellowships in chemistry at Berlin and at Berkeley in 1927 and 1928. Besides his industrial experience with Du Pont, he was a trustee of the Johns Hopkins University and of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
Lenher had intended to serve as chairman of the board for only a short time, but a succession of problems caused him to stay on until 1982, when he was seventy-seven. His successor, J. Bruce Bredin, was a native Delawarean and the nephew, by manage, of Pierre du Pont and Rodney Sharp. He had been a trustee of the university since 1957 and had also served on the governing board of William and Mary and of Sweet Briar College.
The most important administrative appointment on campus in this period was the selection, in 1972, the year in which Samuel Lenher became board chairman, of L. Leon Campbell as provost and vice-president for academic affairs. Succeeding John Shirley, Campbell, a microbiologist educated at the University of Texas, came to Delaware after an academic career spent at California, Washington State, Western Reserve, and Illinois, where he was director of the School of Life Sciences. As the fourth provost in Delaware’s history (the fifth if a period when John Worthen served as acting provost is counted), Campbell succeeded to the second most important position in the academic life of the university and one that had grown in responsibility since it was created, without any specific duties, for Allan Colburn in 1950.
Since taking office Campbell has repeatedly spoken of a "commitment to excellence," which he has sought to support by the allocation of funds both in respect to teaching and research. In those fields we enter, he has said, we should seek to be the best or among the best. His supervision of the academic functions of the university has allowed him to support the appointment of women and members of minority groups, especially blacks. He has urged a renewed emphasis on general education, while remaining sympathetic to interdisciplinary programs. Like President Trabant, Campbell has insisted that a true university is concerned with the advancement of knowledge as well as with its transmission, and both men have therefore encouraged the development of research programs, including many yet to be mentioned.19
Another important administrative appointment, made later in 1972, was that of J. Robert R. Harrison, who came to the university from the business office of the Reformed Church to serve as treasurer. Harrison succeeded Randolph Meade, who had held the title of vice-president before his retirement. The death of Daniel W. Wood, ’47, in 1978 led to the appointment of G. Arno Loessner, ’64, to Wood’s former post of university secretary and executive assistant to the president.
The Penrod Report of 1964 had called for reconsideration of the possibility of starting a medical school in Delaware in fifteen years. As a step toward eventual reconsideration, the university in 1970 appointed Dr. William V. Whitehorn, of the University of Illinois Medical Center, in Chicago, to be director of the Division of Health Sciences and special assistant to the president for medical affairs. But before Whitehorn came to Delaware two developments had occurred that affected attitudes toward medical education.
In 1965 Elizabeth Virginia White, in memory of her late husband, Dr. Charles Peter White, a Wilmington physician, had left a large sum of money (it amounted to over a million dollars by 1979) to the university for medical education, broadly defined; it was to be used in aid of the training of students preparing for or receiving an education for the practice of medicine or for medical research. The second development occurred in 1969 when George Worrilow persuaded the assembly to set up, by unanimous agreement, a Delaware Institute for Medical Education and Research.
DIMER, as this institute was called, provided for a cooperative arrangement between the University of Delaware, the Wilmington Medical Center, and the Thomas Jefferson University Medical School in Philadelphia. Nine persons formed its governing board–three from the university, three from the medical center, and three appointees of the governor. A state appropriation to DIMER allowed it to finance some medical-related research at the university, to help the medical center with facilities for clinical work, and to pay a subsidy to Jefferson for guaranteeing some places in each entering class (originally twenty places) for qualified candidates from the State of Delaware. A joint Jefferson-University of Delaware committee, including three from each institution, reviews applications each year and ranks the Delaware candidates. A university representative sits on the Jefferson admissions committee, which makes the final decisions but has customarily followed the ranking by the joint committee. Annually some Jefferson students come to the Wilmington Medical Center in their third year–and a few in the fourth year–for clinical training.
It was originally thought that the DIMER plan might be only a temporary arrangement while the university developed its own plans for medical education, and it was on such plans that Whitehorn worked after his arrival in 1970. He drew up a rather elaborate scheme for a joint venture between the University of Delaware and Thomas Jefferson University. The unique element of the plan was that it allowed a freshman at Delaware to secure both a bachelor’s degree and an M.D. in six years, using the facilities of the two institutions. Disagreements over details, however, prevented the plan from being adopted, and Whitehorn, disappointed, left the university in 1974.
Meanwhile, the DIMER plan worked so successfully that pressure for a medical school diminished. The original hope that the existence of clinical training at the Wilmington Medical Center and the upgrading of facilities there would help draw young physicians to establish practices in Delaware apparently was realized. The shortage of physicians in Delaware was relieved at the same time that the DIMER contract with Jefferson assured the ablest young Delawareans of admission to a good medical school.
The Division of Health Sciences, which Whitehorn had headed and which had brought together programs in what were called the allied health professions of medical technology and physical therapy, was joined to the department of biological sciences in 1976 to create the School of Life and Health Sciences, which in 1978 acquired a new building, John McKinly Laboratory, named for a Wilmington physician who was chosen the first chief executive of Delaware after independence. Short of a huge appropriation of funds by the General Assembly to start a new medical school it seemed unlikely that any other major step would be taken toward such a school for at least one or two decades.
In these same years when medical education was being considered at the university there was also a movement to start a law school in Delaware. A shortage of places in entering classes at existing law schools in the late 1960s gave occasion for this movement, and a man of most unusual devotion to an idea took advantage of it. The man was Alfred Avins, a newcomer to Delaware in 1970, who had noted the shortage of law schools and determined to do something about it before the need was evident to most Delawareans. Delaware graduates with good records had not had serious trouble getting admitted to recognized and accredited law schools at the time Avins approached the university with the suggestion of founding one, probably with him as dean. Neither the university nor the state bar association, which he also approached, encouraged Avins, but they did look into the question.
A committee appointed by the bar association reported in September 1971 its tentative conclusion that "it probably would be desirable to have a law school in Delaware." At the university the faculty senate established an ad hoc committee, chaired by Edward H. Kerner (physics), to consider the impact of a possible law school on academic affairs. After considerable study, the Kerner committee concluded, in May 1972, "that a `broadly-oriented Law School,’ one that related actively with other disciplines, would be a desirable addition to the University."
Meanwhile, in February 1972, the board of trustees had appointed a law school study committee, chaired by Justice Daniel L. Herrmann, ’35, and including three other trustees, as well as two university administrators, the associate provost and the dean of the graduate school. This committee engaged two men–a faculty member, James R. Soles (political science), and a law school dean, Willard H. Pedrick, of Arizona State University–to study the advisability of establishing a law school at the university and to make recommendations for possible action. They were specifically directed to consider not only the desirability but also the feasibility, in terms of finances, of setting up a law school of high quality–and the trustee committee declared that it wanted nothing less. After considering many kinds of data and canvassing the opinions of numerous people, especially lawyers, in the state, as well as outside it, Pedrick and Soles submitted a report in December 1972 recommending immediate action toward establishment of a law school–if the university and the people of the state were willing to support it properly.
The trustees’ committee on education and training, to which the law school committee reported, waited until the spring of 1973 to reach a conclusion–probably allowing time for compilation of more financial data. On May 13, 1973, this committee took a decisive vote to the effect that it was not feasible, in its opinion, to found a law school at the university then or in the near future. At its meeting on May 19 the board of trustees accepted this decision.
The cost of establishing a law school was probably the stumbling block. To start a law school of high quality would mean an initial expenditure of four to six million dollars for a building, a half-million dollars for a library, and other expenses; perhaps a million dollars a year would be required for operating costs. This did not compare with the expense of a medical school, but still without a source of new funds, this project would have reduced the university’s ability to meet existing commitments.
Avins had very little money and very little backing but he did not feel the same concern about a quality operation, at least for the early years. In the fall of 1971, he rented rooms in the Wilmington YWCA, he begged books for a library, and he himself did almost all of the teaching in what began as a night school program. The Delaware Law School, as Avins named it, had trouble getting accredited, and at the demand of students and their parents, a new dean was brought in to replace the founder, to his chagrin. Eventually gaining accreditation, the law school became affiliated with Widener University, which had acquired a campus in Delaware by absorbing Brandywine Junior College, near Wilmington.20
While hesitating to launch expensive new programs in medicine or law, the university did carefully nurture two existing programs that developed into graduate colleges, the College of Marine Studies and the College of Urban Affairs and Public Policy. The College of Marine Studies was the logical outcome of the marine biology program that began in 1950 and to which other programs had been added, including marine geology and ocean engineering.
It was 1970 when marine studies became a college under the direction of Dean William S. Gaither, a civil engineer by training, who had previously been serving as special assistant to the president for the marine studies program. The program had already begun to receive federal funding from the National Sea Grant College Program, and it soon began moving its Lewes operations from the restricted quarters on Beach Plum Island, where the M. Haswell Pierce Laboratory had been constructed.
The first move in 1973 was to the so-called Butler Building, a pollution ecology laboratory erected between the Broadkill River and Canary Creek. Removal of the principal functions to this place, which could be reached by a bridge from the end of Pilottown Road, obviated the need for daily boat trips to the Pierce Laboratory. But soon another site was acquired, 387 acres on the Lewes side of Canary Creek. This site was intended to provide space for several functions, including government and private research laboratories and a conference and information center as well as college facilities.
Thanks to a state appropriation, the Cannon Laboratory was erected in 1975 on this site as the Lewes headquarters of the college (the campus offices are in Robinson Hall), a research vessel harbor was prepared covering 4-1/2 acres, and a marine operations building constructed beside a dock where the college vessels are moored. The first college vessel, predating the new harbor, was the Acartia, a fishing boat adapted to trawling and oceanographic work. Later acquisitions were the Wolverine, a converted wooden-hulled yacht, and the Skimmer, the gift of Henry B. du Pont in 1969 and the first new vessel built for the marine studies program. In 1976 the college put into operation its major floating laboratory, the new R/V Cape Henlopen, built from private funds. A unique feature of this vessel is that it is built to accommodate portable laboratory vans that fit on it as a functional part but can be removed and used ashore without disturbing any of the scientific equipment or collections. The vans could even be moved by roads to another site–for example, to an inland laboratory, if it seemed desirable to continue the study of assembled materials there.
The College of Marine Studies was successful in attracting research funds from many sources, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Office of Naval Research. In 1976 its progress was recognized when it received designation as a sea-grant college, the ninth in the nation and the final step in approval of what the government agency conferring the award called the "sustained excellence" of the college in its development.
Two major structures added on the main Lewes campus were the Otis Smith Laboratory (1980) for the study of marine photosynthetic processes, as in controlled-environment aquaculture, and the Captain John Penrose Virden Residential Conference and Seminar Center (1981), built with the help of the Kresge Foundation and the Pilots Association of the Bay and River Delaware. A tilting wind-wave-current facility that represented a total investment of about a million dollars (from the Longwood Foundation and other sources) was installed in 1979 in a building at Cape Henlopen State Park, which had been a government defense reservation in the Second World War. The Ph.D. program in the College of Marine Studies, which offers only graduate degrees, was approved in 1971, and in the next ten years more than 125 students studied in this unit of the university.
The other new college of the 1970s, the College of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, also accepts only graduate students. A decade later in its initiation than the marine biology research that led to the marine studies college, work in urban affairs was ten years old in 1971, when a Ph.D. program in the subject was initiated. A year later, in 1972, an urban agent’s office was opened in Wilmington, with an intentional similarity to the county agents’ offices serving the rural community from Georgetown, Dover, and Newark.
Indeed, the concept of urban affairs as a functional interest of the university bears a close relationship to its obligations as a land-grant institution. The original Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862 sought expressly to serve the agricultural and industrial classes with its insistence on training in agriculture and the mechanic arts. It was engineering that came to stand for the mechanic arts in the land-grant colleges, and as the decades passed it became increasingly a profession. The agricultural work of the land-grant colleges was kept close to the rural population as a whole by the development of the cooperative agricultural extension service, but nothing similar existed for the industrial or urban population.
It was this situation that the university and the Ford Foundation sought to remedy when the one founded and the other funded the Division of Urban Affairs.21 The urban agent’s office in Wilmington, a direct outgrowth of this historic development, has been particularly directed to the minority community–that is, the black and, as time passed, the Hispanic community. Besides this service function, the Division of Urban Affairs continued the development of its research and teaching responsibilities. When the division was made a college in 1976 (with C. Harold Brown, trained as a sociologist, as its first dean), its amended name, the College of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, indicated the enlarged role it had undertaken.
The college awards three degrees, the M.A. and Ph.D. in urban affairs and the Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree, the latter in cooperation with the department of political science and intended as preparation of candidates for careers in government service. The faculty of the college has been frequently called on for census surveys of one sort or another; they made about 200 studies, for government or semigovernment agencies at various levels, in the last ten years. In recent years, this college has adopted a new area of interest, a program of technical assistance and research in connection with historic preservation projects.
While these two new colleges were being established–as well as a third, the College of Physical Education, Athletics, and Recreation–one older college lost its status and two underwent considerable internal changes. When Arnold L. Lippert, the fifth dean of the College of Graduate Studies, retired in 1976, a governing board was established to consider the future status of the college. After study and discussion it was decided to give up the college itself–but, of course, not to give up graduate studies. This college had, after all, been different from other colleges: it had no faculty of its own; its faculty were all part of departments in other colleges, and so were its students. And now there were two wholly graduate colleges, marine studies and urban affairs, that were separate entities, with faculties and studies of their own. Consequently a decision was reached to decentralize the administration of graduate studies, placing primary responsibility on the individual departments and colleges. A specific university responsibility for graduate programs and especially their interrelationships would henceforth be in the hands of a coordinator, rather than a dean.
In other colleges the changes made in the 1970s were less extreme. The College of Home Economics changed its name to College of Human Resources in January 1978, intending by this change to indicate a broadened field of interest. Besides programs in food science, dietetics, nutrition, textiles and design, and consumer economics, it offered individual and family studies covering the life span from infancy to old age. A program in nursery and kindergarten education was given in cooperation with the College of Education.
The College of Education suffered a severe enrollment loss in the 1970s because of an oversupply of teachers for schools that were no longer growing but actually declining in student numbers, reflecting the lower birth rates of the late 1950s and 1960s. Traditionally the university had never been able to train enough teachers to take care of the personnel needs of Delaware schools. Now, suddenly, the situation was reversed; more new teachers were being produced than there were jobs to be filled.
One result of this situation was to shift the interest of the college from its former emphasis on undergraduate training to an enlarged interest in graduate programs for teachers already in service. Besides many different master’s degrees the college offered two doctoral degrees, the Ph.D. and the Ed.D. Training for occupational education, for counseling, and for educational leadership rose to challenge preparation of entry-level teachers for faculty interest. The undergraduate preparation of secondary school teachers became primarily the responsibility of the subject-matter departments and colleges, as it had been before 1945.22
Both of the new colleges of the 1960s (nursing and business and economics) increased their enrollments notably in the 1970s. The College of Business and Economics became particularly popular because its graduates, especially those in accounting, could find employment even when business conditions were generally depressed. Nurses, too, were in demand, but interest in a four-year nursing program was not as great as in business. Though some men did enter the College of Nursing, it continued to appeal primarily to women.
On the other hand, business and economics, once a domain for men, proved increasingly attractive to women, even after a program in office systems administration (which had replaced a two-year secretarial studies program) was dropped. One notable development growing out of the increasing popularity of this college was an increase in the academic ability of its students. Since admission to its classes was increasingly competitive, the quality of the students steadily rose. A graduate program leading to the M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration) degree also grew steadily in popularity.
The campus activities of the College of Agricultural Sciences, described in the previous chapter, were centered in the enlarged Agricultural Hall (renamed Townsend Hall in 1983), in Worrilow Hall, and in the O.A. Newton Building. Agricultural engineering, set up as a separate department in 1968, has no graduate program, unlike the other departments; two of them, plant science and animal science (which is combined with agricultural biochemistry), have Ph.D. programs. In 1973 construction on the farm of the Louis A. Stearns Laboratory, a beneficial insects research laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, strengthened the work of the department of entomology. This laboratory had been founded in 1927 at Moorestown, New Jersey, and remained there for over forty years. It is the largest insect quarantine laboratory in the country and cooperates with similar laboratories in France and Korea. Its professional staff members are adjunct professors in the entomology department.
The Soil Conservation Service provides another connection between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the university; in a joint effort the cooperative extension service has successfully encouraged watershed drainage projects to such an extent that there were 100,000 more acres under cultivation in Delaware in 1981 than in 1959, despite the thousands of crop acres lost to housing and other nonagricultural uses. The cattle on the experimental farm, heretofore all Guernseys, were increased by gift of a valuable Aberdeen Angus herd from the Robert and Ellason Downes families.
One of the most popular programs in the College of Arts and Science in the late 1970s was offered by the department of communication. This department came into being in 1973 as the department of speech and communications when the speech programs were removed from the old department of dramatic arts; the title of the latter department had changed several times and it now became the department of theatre. The word speech was deleted from the title of the new department in 1975.
Anthropology and geography departments also arose from the division of an older department. Anthropology was taught within the sociology department, at least from 1949 to 1969, though it did not gain recognition in the department title until 1952. The latter year also marked a union with geography in what was then called the department of sociology, anthropology, and geography, a combination that existed until 1966-69, when three separate departments came into being.23
Geography has had a strange history at Delaware. Taught in the Women’s College as part of the elementary education program, it was combined with geology as an arts and science department in the Carlson era under the chairmanship of Earl Parker Hanson, a distinguished author of guide books. Separated from geology, geography entered on a new liaison with sociology that lasted until 1966, when it became a separate department. Under the chairmanship of John R. Mather, a Center for Climatological Research has been established in the department; this specialization has allowed it to offer the Ph.D. in climatology. Geology, one-time partner of geography, was even earlier (1971) in developing a doctoral program.
Communication, anthropology, geography, and geology are independent departments that came into being by the splitting of old departments. Criminal justice, on the other hand, was a separate program for a time, and then was joined to sociology. This program arose from two sources. One was the interest of the police community, especially the Wilmington department, in receiving training in human relations. Police were being criticized in the 1960s for misunderstanding, particularly in their relationship to minority groups. To alleviate the situation some government funds were available, through the Delaware Agency to Reduce Crime (DARC). The other source was the interest of Jean Kane Foulke (Mrs. E. Paul) du Pont, who gave the university $400,000 as an endowment for the study of crime, delinquency, and correction, a field in which she had long shown an active interest. (She also made annual gifts to the department of sociology in support of research.)
The first programs set up in the field were conferences and noncredit courses for the police, organized through Continuing Education. An associate degree program was worked out after DARC urged the university to give courses for credit, but very shortly it was decided to make this program a four-year course leading to a baccalaureate degree. John Kelly, a former New York police officer who also had United Nations experience and had received a doctorate at John Jay College of the City University of New York, was brought to campus in 1971 to head what was termed a division, rather than a department. In 1975, the program was placed, for administrative purposes, within the department of sociology, where it remains interdisciplinary in composition, employing a political scientist, a social historian, and social psychologists, as well as sociologists.
The university acquired its first computer in 1957. Installed in Hullihen Hall, it was put in the charge of Robert Jackson, a mathematician, though mainly used by engineers; it is said that Robert Pigford was chiefly responsible for its acquisition. As successor to Jackson, David Lamb (chemical engineering) took charge of what had become a Computing Center, now located in Du Pont Hall, and in 1964 Lamb was also made chairman of a new department that combined statistics and computer science and was one of the first undergraduate computer programs in the country. The department and the Computing Center were both moved to E. Laurence Smith Hall, when that building, on the corner of South College and Amstel, was completed in 1970, but the center was placed under separate direction and remained thereafter a wholly separate organization from the department.
In 1977, statistics, which had limited relationship to computer science, was moved back to a union with mathematics, where it had been before 1964, leaving what was now called the department of computer and information sciences. Master’s degree programs are offered not only in cooperation with statistics, but also with engineering and with business and economics. A Ph.D. program is also offered in applied science.
The Computing Center outgrew its quarters in the basement of Smith Hall and moved to a new building constructed for it on Chapel Street, north of the old Danita hosiery mill, which has become the university’s General Services Building. Another agency using computers is the Office of Computer-Based Instruction, which operates what is called the PLATO system. Directed by Fred T. Hofstetter, who came to Delaware in the music department, this project, one of the first of its kind on the East Coast, was developed mainly through the initiative of Provost Campbell, who had become acquainted with this system of computer-assisted instruction at the University of Illinois, and at first the Delaware system was connected to that at Illinois.
Beginning in 1977, the department of physics was strengthened by a cooperative relationship with the Bartol Research Foundation, a division of the Franklin Institute. The Bartol Foundation had been quartered for half a century at Swarthmore College, but when the building it occupied was needed for college purposes it moved to Newark, where it was given space in the Sharp Laboratory. Carrying on research projects that are on frontiers of progress in the physical sciences, members of the Bartol staff have adjunct appointments in physics and do some teaching, largely of graduate students; their research also provides employment for some students as assistants.
Federal legislation forbidding discrimination on the basis of sex helped encourage various efforts to improve the status of women at the university. Despite progress in some details, women had lost standing–for instance, in the proportion of them ranking as full professors–as Anna Janney De Armond (English) pointed out in an article cited earlier. In 1972 a women’s studies program was initiated in continuing education that was later made part of the regular offerings in arts and science, and in 1974 the Commission on the Status of Women was set up to promote the interests of women members of the faculty, staff, and student body.24
Perhaps more effective in the long run by providing women with a voice at a high level of administration was the appointment of Helen Gouldner (sociology) as dean of arts and science, the largest college, in 1974, as well as the later appointment of L. Eudora Pettigrew as associate provost. In 1972, a graduate of the old Women’s College, Madalin Wintrup James, ’25, was elected a vice-president of the board of trustees, and when she retired in 1977, she was succeeded by Catherine Burke Flickinger, ’40.
A physicist of German training, Karl W. Boer, fits into the mold of Kirkbride and Colburn as a faculty member whose initiative opened the way to a significant new development in the university. It was Boer’s idea that he could employ a cadmium sulphide cell to produce electricity from the sun’s rays, and after experimenting with this idea for several years and winning the support of President Trabant and the University of Delaware Research Foundation, Boer became, in 1972, head of a university department in the College of Engineering that was called the Institute of Energy Conversion. The institute soon attracted funding from outside the university; the Delmarva Power and Light Company, for instance, was an early supporter, and so was the National Science Foundation. Growth of the institute’s operation forced it to move off-campus, first to the Budd Building (once home of the Continental-Diamond Fiber Company) on Chapel Street, second to an office building near Limestone Road and the Pike Creek Shopping Center, and finally to a new university building on a plot of land east of the Computing Center.25
Meanwhile, Boer had to give up direction of the enterprise in 1975 because of his interest in a commercial concern called SES (Solar Energy Systems). The Shell Oil interests bought this company, to the profit of Boer and of the university, to whom he had turned over a large block of its stock. Some of the original expectation of quick commercial development of solar cells proved mistaken, but experimentation continued. Though the institute was separated from the College of Engineering, its problems were in great part engineering ones and it remained close to chemical engineering, with T.W. Fraser Russell, from that department, becoming director of the institute in 1979. Only one other member of the staff holds a faculty appointment, but numbers of students work on projects at the institute, which is thought to be the foremost thin-film photovoltaic solar cell laboratory in the world.26
Another university research unit is the Center for Composite Materials, which was founded as and remains part of the College of Engineering. The idea for it originated with Jack R. Vinson (mechanical and aerospace engineering). Vinson secured the support of Dean Irwin Greenfield, Provost Campbell, and President Trabant for his proposal, and the center was formally inaugurated in 1974, with Vinson as director until he turned the responsibility over to R. Byron Pipes, of the same department, in 1977. Staffed by members of the chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering departments, it is interdisciplinary, though administratively affiliated with the department in which it originated.
All of the faculty members of the center continue to teach in their own departments; the center gives no credit courses, though it has offered short courses for industry and it does involve both undergraduate and graduate students in its work. Its aim is to find strong lightweight materials, especially for aviation and space programs and the automobile industry. A major part of its financial support comes from about twenty companies, including some foreign companies from France, Germany, and Japan.27
The Center for Catalytic Science and Technology is similarly an interdisciplinary research organization. Founded in 1978, it investigates catalytic processes that are of importance to chemical manufacturing and especially to the petroleum industry, and it draws upon the faculties in chemistry and chemical engineering. Like the composites center, it is a unit in the College of Engineering, of which its director, Bruce Gates (chemical engineering) is a faculty member. It too draws most of its financial support from a group of sponsoring corporations.
These centers and institutes, not all interdisciplinary, demonstrate the support given to research by President Trabant and Provost Campbell; many more, like the Center for Climatological Research, could be mentioned, but to list them all would turn a book into a catalogue. The University of Delaware Press is nominally older than any center or institute on campus, but in its present form it is relatively new, for it was reorganized in 1975 under James M. Merrill (history), who became chairman of its board of editors.
As described earlier, the first University of Delaware Press was founded by Walter Hullihen early in his administration with the close collaboration of Pierre du Pont, who financed it, and Everett Johnson, who did the printing at his Press of Kells. After Johnson’s death and du Pont’s withdrawal from support of this enterprise, the press became inactive, though the faculty publications committee that helped get out Delaware Notes also occasionally supervised publication of a book with this imprint. In 1949 this committee began publication of a monograph series, in which Anna J. De Armond’s Andrew Bradford was the first volume. President John Perkins increased the funds allocated for publishing, and for a brief time cooperative arrangements were entered into with other university presses, including those of Rutgers, New York University, and Temple University.
In 1975 the university entered into a contract with the Associated University Presses, one of several publishing firms controlled by Thomas Yoseloff, who agreed to publish, at his expense but with the University of Delaware Press imprint, scholarly books that are approved by a faculty board of editors, including books by authors who have no connection with Delaware. These books are printed as a service to scholarship and at no cost to the university except for the maintenance of an office and miscellaneous expenses. Adding to the prestige of the university in scholarly circles, the press assists the university in recruiting able members of the faculty, and in that indirect manner it also serves the students and the Delaware community generally.
The service of continuing education to the state is more direct. Over 3,000 students enrolled in continuing education courses in each recent year; there were many more registrants (over 87,000 in 1976-77) at conferences it scheduled; and to its other programs of cultural activities it added a significant new project in 1980–the Academy of Lifelong Learning.
To a degree this project was modeled on the Institute for Retired Professionals at the New School, in New York City. The idea was that in northern Delaware, as in New York, there was a lack of daytime cultural activities for retired people. In Wilmington the university owned a building, Wilcastle, that had been purchased as a site for evening classes and was not fully utilized in day. Continuing education secured the service of a former state senator, Louise Conner, and in the fall of 1979 a membership drive enrolled about 100 persons.
The academy offered its first courses in the spring of 1980 and quickly established itself as a miniature university, without grades, credits, or degrees. Members pay $100 a year for the privilege of taking as many courses as they wish in the academy, as well as one credit course, if they so desire. Faculty are not paid, and the program is run largely by a council chosen from the members. The courses are normally given once a week, either just before or just after lunch. Students come from varying backgrounds; anyone fifty-five or older is eligible.
The academy fits into the long-range plans of a Commission on Lifelong Learning, appointed by President Trabant with the objective of improving the university’s educational service to all the people of Delaware, not just the retired. As the number of active retired people grows, the academy should fill an increasing need for intellectual stimulation in a congenial social setting; certainly the initial enthusiasm it awakened is encouraging to those who hope the university can extend its service function by helping to fill this educational niche.
The rapid growth of the university before 1975 and the rapid inflation after that date strained its financial resources. State financial problems made the legislature less able to respond to university needs than it had been in the previous decade, and the university found it necessary to raise its student fees–to, for instance, $940 for Delaware residents in 1976-77 and $2,075 for out-of-state undergraduates, with additional charges for room and board averaging $1,742 for the former group and $1,842 for the latter. Fortunately, private gifts and income from an endowment listed as $82,000,000 (at cost) helped meet needs.
Among major gifts in the last fifteen years not hitherto mentioned was a legacy of over $4 million from James B. Eliason, once treasurer of the Du Pont Company, plus smaller but substantial sums from the estates of Wilmer Stradley, Eugene E. du Pont, and John F. Metten. Melva Guthrie, a Wilmingtonian who was known to few people on campus, left over $700,000 to the library in 1968. The library also profited from the gift of a large collection of books and papers from Samuel Moyerman and from regular gifts to its decorative arts collection by Esther (Mrs. Samuel) Schwartz. Wilhelmina Laird Craven made valuable additions to the Irenee du Pont Mineral Collection, as well as structural additions to Penny Hall, where it was housed. While the portion of the collection on display attracts many visitors, the entire collection is valuable as a teaching tool in geology.28
At his death in 1970 Henry Belin du Pont added to his previous generous gifts with a legacy of $1,500,000. By 1982 the total gifts to the university from the Unidel Foundation of Amy du Pont amounted to $42 million, the largest single grant having been for the construction of the Amy E. du Pont Music Building.
A recitation of gifts made to the university reveals clearly the generosity of members of the du Pont family and of some former employees of the Du Pont Company, such as Fletcher Brown, Harry Haskell, Willis Harrington, and James Eliason. In the summer of 1971 a Ralph Nader study group ("Nader’s raiders"), led by students from Yale Law School, spent several months in Delaware considering and analyzing the effect of the presence of the Du Pont Company and family on the state and its institutions. To Delawareans it seemed that though they were intelligent observers, members of the group spent too little time in Delaware to understand conditions thoroughly and that they came with preconceived notions that affected their findings.
In the book that they wrote as a culmination of their work they declared that the University of Delaware had long been dominated by the du Ponts, to whom it was, like many of the educational and charitable institutions of Delaware, a "sacred cow." (An article in Science magazine by Philip M. Boffey had made a similar argument several years earlier.) They blamed du Pont domination for restrictions on political activity by the faculty, for the failure to retain some faculty members who engaged in an anti-ROTC protest (the Bresler-Myers case), for legislative action freeing the university from state audits of its private funds in order that their gifts would not be inspected, for watering down stories about the university in the News-Journal papers of Wilmington, and for aggravating by their gifts the difference in resources between the university and Delaware State College.29
Officials of Christiana Securities, the du Pont family holding company, did apparently prevent the publication of some unfavorable news about the university in the News-Journal papers, which Christiana Securities owned. It seems probable, however, that this happened at the request of President Perkins, who was using his influence for what he thought was the good of the university.30 The News-Journal papers were subsequently sold to the Gannett chain.
Perkins had also attempted to exercise constraint on the political activities of faculty members, but it was out of a fear that such activities might endanger the university’s state appropriations. He wanted faculty members to keep out of legislative halls so that the university could speak with one voice in Dover. After an attempt to prevent political campaigning on campus, however, he backed down, and since his day appearances on campus have become routine for political candidates, particularly since the voting age was lowered to eighteen. There is no reason to think that Perkins’s actions resulted from any external control. Two faculty members have run in statewide contests since Perkins’s day: James R. Soles (political science), who unsuccessfully sought a Congressional seat against Pierre S. du Pont IV in 1974, and Shien-Biau Woo (physics), who was elected lieutenant governor ten years later. In general, what Edward Vallandigham wrote in 1920 to the effect that partisan politics in Delaware did not involve the university is still true.
It was the university that was concerned to see that its private funds were not subject to state audit or supervision. And as to the comment that gifts to the university aggravated the difference between it and Delaware State College, it should be noted that it was segregationist sentiment that was largely responsible for the birth and the continued existence of Delaware State. The interest and financial support of several du Ponts in the education of blacks is well-documented.
In fulfilling its role as a state university, Delaware has catered to the special interests and needs of its constituency, whether chemists or poultrymen, but its interests are not skewed so awkwardly as suggested. In a 1980 rating of graduate departments, psychology, history, English, and art history at Delaware rated about as well as any of the science and technology fields (and better than most) except chemical engineering.
The Nader group also seemed frequently to confuse the Du Pont Company and the family. While the company did help the university in certain ways, with a few salaries, with fellowships, with the Upward Bound program, for example, and although two successive company presidents, Irving Shapiro and Edward Jefferson, have served on the board, it was individual du Ponts who were most generous, perhaps moved by a family tradition stemming from the founder of the family, Pierre S. du Pont de Nemours, who wrote a tract on education entitled "National Education in the United States."31 There is less reason to confuse the company and the family after 1978 than before because in that year the company bought out Christiana Securities; the family no longer controls the company since their individual shares are small and they no longer can cast them as a unit, as they did through Christiana Securities.
In the late 1950s, when rural, downstate representatives were in the majority, the university’s needs met a very friendly reception in the legislature. The general attitude of the state has usually been conservative, and even at the height of student unrest in the 1967-72 period, the students on the Delaware campus were probably considerably more conservative than the most vigorous forms of campus protests made them seem. A real problem in Delaware in the twentieth century has been the possibility that the legislature or other governmental bodies might say, "Let the du Ponts do it," and shirk their responsibilities, especially in fields such as social welfare and education.32
In recent years various activities of the university have succeeded in attracting donors from out of state. For instance, the Exxon Foundation gave $250,000 and the Rockefeller Foundation $175,000 in support of the Center for the Study of Values, which is based in the department of philosophy. The Du Pont Company is not alone in recognizing an obligation to the states where its employees live and where their children are likely to attend college. Hercules, Inc., for instance, gave the university a valuable parcel of land that is part of the marine studies complex at Lewes.
The alumni of the university, through annual fund campaigns, have become increasingly helpful. The separate alumni and alumnae associations were combined in 1957 and have conducted a joint fund drive for the university’s benefit since then. If alumni in the future show the same interest as Everett C. Johnson, ’99, who secured legislative assistance, and H. Rodney Sharp, ’00, who paved the way for large private gifts, the future of higher education in Delaware should be safe.
In 1975 and 1976, President Trabant was chairman of a state commission that celebrated the bicentennial of the American Revolution and of American independence with various activities, and on campus John Murray chaired a committee that helped the university community participate in the celebration. For the university, in an historical sense, however, the most striking event of the bicentennial occurred in 1976. It was an event that brought its evolution full circle–the reunion of the Academy of Newark with the university.
The academy was, of course, the parent of the college that became a university. The trustees of the academy had raised the money to start the college, they had let the contract and supervised the building of Old College Hall, and then they secured the charter by the terms of which the college opened in 1834. At that time the academy had been merged with the college as its academic department, and though its old school building had been then abandoned it was soon found desirable to erect new buildings for the young academy boys.
In the ensuing years of the mid-nineteenth century the academy was generally more successful than the college in two senses: it usually enrolled more pupils and it was better able to make its income meet its necessary expenses than was the college. Though the two brick buildings constructed in 1841 and 1842 were deeded to the college in 1847, the academy was operated somewhat independently under its principal, and when the college closed in 1859 the academy remained open.
After the college was reorganized and prepared to reopen as a land-grant institution, its trustees, in 1869, deeded back the academy property to the surviving academy trustees. These trustees filled all vacancies on their board, built another brick structure between and connecting the two older buildings, and continued to operate a school under their 1769 Penn charter for almost three decades. But free public high schools were taking the place of private academies throughout Delaware and neighboring states in the late nineteenth century, and in 1898 the academy trustees decided to give way to the spirit of the times, closing their academy and renting the building to the Newark public schools.
After another quarter century, the public high school was moved in 1925 to a new building on Academy Street that was constructed to suit its purposes. For fifty years more the old academy building met many community needs: it housed the town library, it provided a meeting place for Boy Scouts and other organizations, and finally it became the town hall.
It was when a new municipal building was erected on Elkton Road and the last town offices vacated the old building in the summer of 1975 that the trustees decided to turn their ancient responsibilities over to the institution their academy had spawned in 1833, then called Newark College and now the University of Delaware. At a ceremony on July 14, 1976, the academy trustees formally turned over to the university not only the academy lot and building but also its funds, amounting to $71,000, presumably including what survived of the colonial endowment gathered by agents like Patrick Alison, Hugh Williamson, and John Ewing from Presbyterians in such scattered places as South Carolina, Jamaica, Ireland, and Great Britain. Perhaps the $71,000 included a remnant of that royal gift we know came from George III (though we know no details about it)–if it reached America in time to be securely invested in land or some other nonperishable before George’s army swept through northern Delaware, seizing the papers and the funds of the academy in September 1777.
By an agreement with the academy trustees that had been signed on August 15, 1975, the university agreed to preserve the exterior (but not the interior) of the academy, except that the middle portion, built in 1871 to connect the two older buildings, could be removed. It also agreed to reserve a room on the main floor as a museum of early education in Delaware and as a meeting room "available to…historical societies, civic associations, and the like." Of the funds transferred, the university was to use at least $40,000 for renovating the interior and $15,000 to establish the "Academy of Newark Scholarship Fund," the income from which was to be awarded to university students of scholarly ability, good citizenship, and good moral character, with a preference shown to those intending to teach, preferably in Delaware.
Actually the university set aside $41,000 for renovation of the building, $5,000 more for preparation of an exhibit hall inside the main entrance, and $25,000 for scholarships. The first offices occupied in the restored building were assigned to the university development department, and this was quite appropriate. For it had been a distinguishing feature of the old academy in its stone building on this same site that it had sent out fund-raisers to far corners of the old empire. These Presbyterian ministers who went abroad to raise money were not yet called development officers, but development was precisely their intent. Their appeal, published in London in 1774, "to the Charitable and humane Friends of Learning, public Virtue, and Religion," is not very different, notably excepting the emphasis on the Protestant religion, from the appeal friends of the university make today.
And the appeal must be made, for other sources of funds are insufficient to meet the university’s needs. State appropriations have fallen to below one-third of the total expenditures, and the endowment, because of inflation, brings in a much smaller portion of the total needs than it did fifteen years ago. One variable that can be made to take up the slack is the fee charged students, and it has been adjusted upwards. But the university always hesitates to take this step, for its mission as a land-grant college and a state university is to be available, which implies to be affordable, for the youth of Delaware.
Their numbers have shrunk in recent years, as the effects of birth control have been seen in the diminishing number of high school graduates. Where once the normal situation was that two-thirds of the students were residents of Delaware, recently the percentage of Delawareans has shrunk to little more than half. More out-of-state students have been admitted because the facilities exist for them–and they do pay larger fees. It is expected that the percentage of Delawareans will soon rise again, however, both because grade school enrollments are rising and because the university hopes to attract, and retain, a greater proportion of Delaware high school graduates.
Some of these graduates who might otherwise go out of state may find the bill at other colleges higher than they wish to pay. The university also seeks to help prepare some weak students, usually from poor socio-economic backgrounds, for success in college by programs like College Try (renamed Student Special Services) and Upward Bound, which offer special advising, tutoring, and other support to students believed to have the potential ability to do college work but who are ill-prepared for it. A special program of advisement and assistance for minority students has the same aim; all three programs operated after 1980 as part of the Center for Student Academic Development.33
The university has made a special effort to recruit black students in recent years in order to avoid any charge of racial segregation. One interesting program related to this effort is called FAME, the Forum to Advance Minorities in Engineering, a New Castle County group of businesses and other organizations that have assisted in identifying potential black engineering students in junior high school; for selected students this program has offered enrichment programs in the summer and on Saturdays during the school year. A number of cooperative efforts have been undertaken with Delaware State College.
The Instructional Resources Center offers help with classroom teaching problems, as by furnishing audio-visual aids. The Writing Center and the Mathematics Center attempt to help students with recognized weaknesses in these fields. Through the College of Education the university has sought to improve understanding of computers by school personnel and by students throughout the state.
In 1980 the university had 139 different undergraduate degree programs, 89 master’s degree programs, and 23 doctoral programs. One way in which it seeks to keep a check on the functioning of this great variety of programs has been through a Council on Program Evaluation (COPE), established by the Faculty Senate in 1973. Each year COPE chooses some units of the university to be evaluated–departments, offices, colleges–and creates a separate task force to prepare a thorough report on each one. Individual evaluations by special faculty committees have been required since 1975, more frequently for instructors than for tenured full professors, but required for all.
Careful planning for the future needs of the university was regularized during the presidency of John Perkins, when forecasts were frequently issued, with subsequent revisions as time passed and conditions changed. The Community Design study initiated by President Trabant broadened the responsibility for this planning; where it had been the job of a small group in a planning office, it now became the responsibility of the entire university community. In 1977 a five-year planning program was begun for all units of the university, requiring them to state their realistic aims and priorities. An Office of Institutional Research and Financial Planning was established to accumulate the factual data needed for decisions about the future.
In the early 1980s, as the university prepared to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the date when it received its college charter (1833) and opened its doors to college students seeking a degree (1834), it could look back on a long institutional history that began ninety years before Newark College was chartered. Trials and tribulations abounded for more than a century after Francis Alison opened his "free school" at New London, but from the first there were lofty ambitions to cheer men on and make them hopeful of the future.
By the sesquicentennial year it was clear that many if not all of the grandest ambitions its ablest leaders had held for this institution had been achieved. To some degree their fondest hopes had been surpassed.
But still many problems remained. Old as the university’s history was–in American terms–there was still a sense of newness about the institution. Its 13,000 undergraduates had been 9,000 as recently as 1970, only 2,100 in 1955, and less than 1,000 in 1940. But now the great expansion in numbers seemed at an end. It had brought great opportunities, but also it brought trouble and turmoil. The era of growth was now to be succeeded, it seemed, by an era of consolidation.34
But there should be no end to challenges. The major challenge was no longer to cope with growth but to realize the potential of the mature university, to maintain what excellence had been developed, to correct what weakness had been tolerated when the needs of expansion took priority.
In other words, the problem was to make Delaware as good a university–for its students, for its state, for its nation–as it possibly could be.